Know a community God has called you to reach but you cannot see any possible way to plant or start a church there?  Have a vision to help your church reach your whole area, but little chance you can start the 15+ churches needed?  I think God is challenging us to think outside the box to accomplish his call on our lives and churches.  Let’s try something different!  How about multi-venue or multi-site or some hybrid?   Before you say no way, please think with us.  We would probably never imagine that circuit riding was a good way to reach unreached Americans and start churches, but it was the basis for one of the fastest church-planting movements in the USA.

Multi-site ministry is a church, no matter its size, multiplying itself to another site through personnel and ministries.  They may use live or video preaching, but the leaders of the additional site (possibly including a campus pastor) lead the ministries at that site and raise up additional leaders there. 

Similar, but somewhat different, multi-venue ministry is a church having different venues—worship gatherings of differing groups in different locations within the church’s facilities—to reach different segments of people. 

The main difference, according to Larry Osborne, is:  “Multi-site is a way to expand geographically.  It also allows a church to go to people rather than build ever bigger buildings that people have to drive farther and farther to get to.  Multi-venue is a way to expand demographically.  The word of God cuts across all demographics, worship styles, and external differences that set churches apart.  By offering venues as diverse in worship and ambience as our Country Gospel, Traditions, and Edge venues, we are able to reach a much broader demographic than we ever would have with a one-size-fits-all (or blended) service.” 

One advantage of multi-site and multi-venue strategy is that a full-orbed church ministry can be started without developing a whole new church infrastructure (administrative, financial, etc.).  Since all these are taken care of through the main church, the new group is able to focus on reaching their community or target, making disciples, developing small groups, and training leaders.  For these reasons a ministry can truly be started in any location throughout the state no matter how big or small the community is. Also, this is a wonderful place to use lay leaders and pastors since they can have the training and oversight of an organized church.

 I would encourage you to prayerfully consider how you could use or adjust these options so that your church can reach the area or region God has given you.  Some of the options that are being used in our district now are:

  • multi-venue church within a church (Hispanic-Anglo)
  • multi-venue that reaches broader demographics
  • multi-site with video preaching
  • multi-site with live preaching and a preaching team. 

The sky is the limit for variations!  And any of these sites could become autonomous churches.  

 To hear more about multi-site and multi-venue ministry, join us for an interactive forum with Larry Osborne following district conference on April 12 at Constance EFC, 1:30—4:00pm.

How will you reach the region God has called you to?